Vehicles sink into the ground, bits of scenery get lodged in your car as you ride around, and the collision detection is sloppy. In its favour, the animation is smooth, the characters look great (the main ones, that is - the NPCs are hideous), and a few set-pieces are impressively huge in scale.
But the combat needed a bit more depth to it, to make those long firefights feel less of a chore - because, even when you're mixing up weapons, calling in air strikes and fighting alongside Burt Reynolds, it feels weirdly limp and old-fashioned. A critical flaw considering the game is 80% shootouts.
So, in a reflection of Saints Row itself, the negatives outnumber the positives. There's definitely a lot to love here, and it's infinitely more fun when you're playing with a buddy in co-op mode, but its tired gunplay, and its lack of technical polish, is a let-down.
If you can steel yourself for the low points, you'll find a stupidly entertaining game dedicated to making you smile, full of moments you'll excitedly recount to anyone who'll listen. But then, just as you're starting to fall for it, it wipes the smile away by smacking you in the face with a big, dick-shaped baseball bat.
Some amazing moments... and some truly abysmal ones. Saints Row: The Third is wildly imaginative and frequently entertaining, but a lack of technical polish and weak combat overshadow its achievements.
- An enormous city heaving with things to do
- Some genuinely unforgettable missions
- The character editor is endlessly entertaining
- Glitchy tech and basic combat
- The way it forces you to do its rubbish side-missions
- Has bigger ideas than the tech can handle